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A woman with Elephantiasis tropica
Classification and external resources
SpecialtyInfectious disease, general surgery

Elephantiasis is the enlargement and hardening of limbs or body parts due to tissue swelling.[1][2] It is characterised by oedema, hypertrophy, and fibrosis of skin and subcutaneous tissues, due to obstruction of lymphatic vessels.[2] It may affect the genitalia.[2] The term elephantiasis is often used in reference to (symptoms caused by) parasitic worm infections,[1][2] but may refer to variety of diseases where parts of a person's body swell to massive proportions.[2]

Some conditions that present with elephantiasis include:

Other causes may include:


The disease inflicted 1.5 million victims in Ethiopia out of 4 million across the globe in 2018.[5] As per WHO, over 1 billion people in 54 countries, especially in tropical regions, are at risk of elephantiasis although the disease is preventable.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Definition of ELEPHANTIASIS". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "elephantiasis", The Free Dictionary, retrieved 2018-06-28
  3. ^ Carlson, Emily (27 March 2013). "Taking the 'Bite' Out of Vector-Borne Diseases - Inside Life Science Series - National Institute of General Medical Sciences". publications.nigms.nih.gov. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Lymphedema". National Cancer Institute. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  5. ^ HuffPost, On Assignment For (2018-07-17). "Where Shoes Are A Luxury, A Nightmarish Disease May Be Lurking". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  6. ^ McNeish, Hannah (2017-10-12). "Victims Of This Disfiguring Disease 'Feel So Much Pain And Shame'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-08-27.

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